I tried to resist watching TLC’s Extreme Couponing for as long as I could. It’s not that I didn’t want to watch the show, it’s that I knew once I started watching, I would become obsessed and soon would take on the practice of extreme couponing in my own life.
I finally broke down the other weekend and watched a few episodes of Extreme Couponing on In Demand and, just as I suspected, I was instantly hooked and bookmarked/signed up for the following couponing sites:
I also Googled extreme couponing to find a couple articles to give more general ideas of how to get started.
I’m well aware that I’m never going to get to the point where I’m going to be able to walk out of a grocery store with a $5 bill for $500 worth of goods, but at the same time, if I can save 50%+ on every trip to the grocery store with a toned down version of extreme couponing – we’ll call it mild couponing – I’d be incredibly happy.
(After all, if I save $100 per week, that’s essentially keeping $5,200 per year in my pocket. Since I’m recently married and we want to do some traveling before we have kids, mild couponing will essentially allow us to take a nice trip for free.)
This weekend, I decided to put my mild couponing skills to the test. I sat down for about 45 minutes and clipped coupons from the weekend paper (and the coupons I’ve asked friends and family to set aside for me from their papers) and looked at the weekly deals for my local grocery store as well as CVS.
On Sunday, my wife and I went to the grocery store and thanks to our pre-planning, were able to cut at $200 grocery bill to $140. There were a few unusual one-time purchases we don’t normally make (we don’t spend $200 per week on groceries) so I walked out of there a little unhappy with our 30% savings.
This morning on the way into work, I stopped at CVS, determined to do much better. I did.
I walked out of CVS with $200 worth of goods (see the list below) and, thanks to sales, coupons, and Extra Bucks, I paid only $75. Needless to say, I was much happier with this 60% savings, plus I got stuff that doesn’t go back and things we need/frequently use:
- Laundry detergent
- Razor refills
- Shaving cream
- Body wash
- Contact lens solution
There were a few other things thrown in there, too, but you get the point. And all it took to save $125 was 45 minutes of work. On an hourly basis, that’s the same thing as working a job that pays you $166 per hour (that would equate to a salary of about $350,000 per year).
So, after getting $400 worth of food and products my family uses, I paid only $215, saving roughly $46%. Hopefully I’ll become a little better at this and consistently be around the 60% mark.
There’s really no reason you shouldn’t be doing this, too. Even if you’re well off, living a frugal lifestyle is something that’s in your best interest financially. Mild couponing is a great place to start.
What are your thoughts about extreme couponing (or even mild couponing)? Do you clip coupons? If not, would you ever consider starting? Leave your comments below and, as always, please share this post using the social bookmarking buttons below, especially Facebook and Twitter!
- Extreme Couponing: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly (bargaineering.com)
- SavingStar’s digital coupons rack up half million users in three months (gigaom.com)
- Extreme couponing: Student saves $300 a month (money.cnn.com)
- Stores getting tough on extreme couponers (canada.com)